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A glimpse at the new era of integrated and personalized healthcare - Marlene Thomas

Small Talk Big Issues is Observia's mini web-series of interviews about the healthcare (r)evolution.

Who is Marlene Thomas? 

Marlene Thomas is the Global Medical Lead for Integrated Heatlhcare Solutions at Roche. She has a background in biochemistry and cancer biology and now works at the interface of health-tech and bio-tech, combining advanced technologies with high quality therapies to support personalized healthcare concepts. Driven by her passion for healthcare innovations, she’s engaged for a more integrated way to deliver healthcare.

#1 Looking at patients beyond biology

Biology is obviously a key component of healthcare: to treat a disease, you need to understand its clinical elements. This is where medication was born.

But as human beings, we are more than the addition of our cells: we can be rational and irrational, predictable and unpredictable, be invested in our treatment one day and forget all about it another.

According to Marlene Thomas, we need to understand the bigger picture by combining patients' objective clinical data with subjective behavioral insights: the first step to truly putting the patient at the center of a personalized healthcare.

#2 Digital tools: paving the way for a global understanding of patients

The care and support of chronic patients establishes a new area of research, as they have to live with their disease over long periods of time, from months to years. As a result, the way they perceive their illness, the difficulties they face with their treatment can evolve as the person changes over time.

The main stake for health providers is to collect these behavioral data, to quantify and objectify them in order to integrate them in a care approach.

In this context, digital tools offer great potential to serve this new precision medicine, by providing an accessible way to follow and organize this data.

According to Marlene Thomas, digital tools can help us monitor and understand patients over time, and deliver care in a personalized way.

 

#3 Integrated healthcare starts by... integrating healthcare stakeholders

Healthtech companies, e-health startups, pharmaceutical industry: the healthcare ecosystem has been boiling recently, with tons of innovations and tools to better care and support patients.

In order to build the future standards of care, we have a major undertaking ahead of us: to co-construct our health approach at the European level.

To fit the necessity of change, we must rethink patient journeys, healthcare workflows and local legislations while monitoring the impact. 

According to Marlene Thomas, one key factor of success will be to work in a partnership approach and build common indicators. In other words: conceive the future of care in an integrated way.

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